Circular economy on the rise: Finnish iPhone refurbisher Swappie bags $124M funding

Swappie
Image credits: Swappie

The used or refurbished smartphones make up over 10% of the total smartphone market in Europe, which is worth €100 billion. Currently, only 25% of pre-owned phones are sold and there is huge potential for the refurbished phone market to grow. Finland-based Swappie refurbishes and resells used iPhones is here to make use of this potential.

$124M funding

Now, Swappie, an end-to-end online destination for buying and selling refurbished smartphones, has closed $124 million (€108 million) in a Series C funding round. The investment round was led by growth equity firm Verdane, which specialises in tech-enabled, sustainable businesses. Also, existing investors Lifeline Ventures (which invested in Droppe and Dispelix), Inventure, Reaktor Ventures and TESI participated in the round.

With this financing, the total funding secured by Swappie now accounts for over $171 million (€149 million). This round follows a $40.6 million (€35.8 million) Series B funding that the company secured back in June 2020.

Swappie intends to use the funds to continue to meet growing customer demand for refurbished goods. The startup will bolster its European expansion and accelerate growth of the category as a whole. Swappie will focus on scaling operations in its existing 15 markets across the continent, with a focus on Italy and Germany. Also, it intends to increase its headcount from 1,200 talented and purpose-driven people to 2,200 by the end of this year.

Sami Marttinen, Co-founder and CEO of Swappie commented: “Swappie continues to strengthen our European leadership in refurbished iPhones with this investment. Our main priority is accelerating growth in our current European markets, with a view to expanding further afield in the next few years, to meet rising demand.”

Janne Holmia, Partner at Verdane added: “As people and companies progressively move towards a more sustainable lifestyle, the iPhone refurbishment and re-commerce space has grown considerably, and with it Swappie, which has demonstrated the potential to become Europe’s market leader in refurbished smartphones. Verdane is excited to be working alongside Swappie as we deploy our expertise in building sustainable digital consumer businesses to support a vision of a more resource-efficient future for the European consumer.”

“At Swappie we see this potential as a great opportunity to solidify our efforts in growing the current European operations”, added Emma Lehikoinen, Chief Operating Officer at Swappie.

Achieves circular economy

Recently, people are increasingly looking for ways to lessen their environmental impact. As per reports, smartphones will generate 146 million tons of CO2 emissions in 2022 and 83% of this is caused by manufacturing, shipping and first-year usage of new smartphones to be shipped in 2022. It is also estimated that using the smartphone for an additional year would save over 2 million tonnes of emissions.

As Swappie eyes to help address the increasing CO2 emissions in an area where it is possible, it refurbishes and resellers iPhones to demonstrate a positive environmental impact.

Swappie is making it easier than ever for people to purchase environmentally responsible smartphones. It is transforming the market by closing the loop on refurbished electronics for the first time and making circular economy accessible to the masses. The company is committed to driving consumer awareness and making buying a refurbished smartphone as common as buying a used car.

The increased consumer awareness of the environmental impact of e-waste and sustainability are the biggest drivers among Swappie customers that make them purchase a refurbished phone. While Swappie has seen incredible demand from consumers to date, there are similar players in this space including Back Market, Swappa and Amazon Renew.

What does Swappie do?

Founded by Sami Marttinen and Emma Lehikoinen in Helsinki, Swappie is capable of fixing the deepest issues, thereby repairing many devices that other companies cannot and extending the lifestyle better than any other player in the market. It owns factories in Finland and Estonia, and ensures the highest standards are met and waste is reduced through a smarter use of materials. Also, it buys, refurbishes and sells iPhones ensuring high quality through controlling the whole value chain.

Unlike other players who work as a marketplace, partnering with external sellers to list their items, Swappie is unique in that it controls the entire supply chain, managing the entire process, from testing and repairing used handsets, to selling the refurbished devices direct to consumers, with at least a 12-month warranty.

Swappie refurbishes phones directly, to the highest standards using the latest technology, which makes their refurbished phones as robust as the original devices and sometimes even stronger.

Massive 200% growth

Swappie has experienced tremendous growth in the last few years, growing its sales by more than 220% in 2020. It opened in 12 markets during the pandemic and holds the market leader position in the refurbished smartphone industry in the majority of its markets including Finland, Sweden and Italy. Also, the company has sold over 1 million refurbished smartphones to date.

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